Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Saturday morning's activity was a banding workshop at BSBO where several nets were opened to catch birds for banding, teaching aging and sexing techniques, and overall sharing of information and knowledge among the participants.
The trip to Navarre was a great way to cap off a wonderful weekend. Many thanks to all the volunteers and the BSBO staff who put much time and energy into this conference! And, speaking of thanks…
The 2010 fall banding season resulted in one of the highest total number of banded birds (for the fall season) in the history of the project and the volunteers did outstanding work to see that everything went smoothly. Our sincere gratitude to all of you for your great efforts and we look forward to working with you again in the spring; it will come sooner than you think!
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Here's a tricky sparrow to ID in the fall.
We'll make it a quiz bird and see if you can work it out:
And here we have the first for this fall season, and the official BSBO Bird of Winter, the American Tree Sparrow (ATSP.
Monday, October 4, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
From left to right we have Veery (VEER), Gray-cheeked (GCTH), Hermit (HETH), and Swainson's (SWTH). Veery and Gray-cheeked Thrushes have no visible eye-ring. The Veery has a reddish-brown back and tail while the Gray-cheeked has an olive-brown back and tail. The Hermit and Swainson's have a visible eye-ring and a olive-brown back, but the Hermit has a contrasting reddish brown tail or "brown back and red tail configuration."
Pictured here are rear views (left to right) of Gray-cheeked, Veery, Hermit, and Swainson's.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
The past four days we saw or heard 17 species warblers with a total of 20 warbler species for the season. The 17 warblers include Tennessee, Nashville, Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, Cape May, Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green, Bay-breasted, Blackpoll, Black-and-white, American Redstart, Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush, Connecticut, Common Yellowthroat, Wilson’s, and Canada. We did not see or hear a Yellow, Mourning, or Prothonotary Warbler this week.
This season (to date) we have banded as many Black-and-white Warblers (13) as our total for last fall. Six were captured today (Sept. 2). This gives me an opportunity to show you both hatching year and adult (after hatching year) Black-and-whites (BAWW). Note the adult male has a black cheek (auricular) patch. Streaks on flanks are very black and distinct.
Here is another nice bird for the week:
Another warbler to be familiar with is this Bay-breasted Warbler (BBWA) with its lemon green head and back with little to no dark streaks and whitish throat and breast. The gray legs and feet help identify this as a BBWA from its cousin the Blackpoll Warbler.
Fall migration of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds has been sporadic in Navarre but five new birds were banded this week. Here is a hatching year male with its throat streaked with iridescent feathers. You can see the remnants of his yellow fleshy gape of its nestling stage.
A nice surprise on Wednesday, 09/01, was this Philadelphia Vireo (PHVI)
Its bright yellow throat and breast separate it from its cousin the Warbling Vireo.
All vireos have blue-gray legs and thick bills with a slight hook at the end.
Here is the side view of the quiz bird:
Note the thin beak in comparison to the small rounded head. Some use the yellow patch in the auricular and nape regions to assist in identification. However, it is not always apparent on a fall-plumaged bird. The bill shape versus the head and the streaks on the breast are the give aways for me. This is one of the warblers with yellow rumps, along with Magnolia, Palm, and Myrtle (the one people call the Yellow-rumped).
Answer to Bird Quiz is an adult female Cape May Warbler (CMWA). She has a faint remnant of the cheek patch (auricular) that the male exhibits in the spring. The fine streaking on the breast is a common characteristic for CMWAs. While the one in the photo above is a paler example, female CMWAs have two wing bars. A male has only one.
Be sure to stop by the Observatory this weekend (at the entrance to Magee Marsh) to see what warblers and other migrants are visiting the waterfall at our window on wildlife. For hours of operation and area birding and travel information visit BSBO HERE. Have a great birding weekend!
Sunday, August 29, 2010
The first week of Migration Songbird Monitoring produced a few exciting highlights for the week. These included our first Yellow-billed Cuckoo for the year. We heard them occasionally during spring and summer but none were slow enough to get into the nets to be banded. Another highlight was the 18 warbler species captured in the first week! These included: Tennessee, Nashville, Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green, Bay-breasted, Blackpoll, Black-and-white, American Redstart, Prothonotary, Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush, Connecticut, Mourning, Common Yellowthroat, Wilson’s, and Canada. It's worth noting that there has not been a Yellow Warbler (YWAR) seen or heard on the research site since mid-August. It appears that the resident YWARs have left the area.
Here are some pictures of a few early migrating warblers just in case you do not have a chance to get out and enjoy them:
Wilson's Warbler (WIWA)
Chestnut-sided Warbler (CSWA)
A weak front came through on Thursday and turned the winds to the NW which produced a small movement of birds on Friday and Saturday. The coming week looks to be good after Thursday when another front is slated to come through and temps are to drop to the low 80’s.
We were able to set up the five beach nets in addition to the main migration station nets this week. As usual, the beach nets caught higher numbers of Warbling Vireos (WAVI) than the nets inside the dike at the main station. Twelve out of the 14 WAVIs captured were caught in the five beach nets versus two in the 23 inside nets. This is a species that appears to be favoring habitats immediately along the lake shore instead of the larger older ridge habitat just a few yards inside the dike.
Another highlight Saturday was capturing two Connecticut Warblers (CONW).
One was an adult male with its gray head and distinctive eye ring that really does stand out and go “Boing!" The other is a hatching year bird of unknown sex with a distinctive eye ring that looks similar to what a female CONW eye ring looks like. Hatching year birds generally can't be sexed with certainty. Even so, these are gorgeous birds no matter what their plumage!
Since Saturday was an exceptional day for warblers, I thought it would be great to take a group photo of eye ring warblers. The only one I wanted that was missing was the Chestnut-sided. Look at the photo of the CSWA above and you'll understand why it would have fit into the group photo. Can you identify all the eye ring birds? (Answer below).
Three other favorite birds of the week I would like to share are these:
Just look at the green on this bird! The TEWA is the only warbler I know that has this chartreuse green coloring. Note the white undertail coverts which distinguishes TEWA from its cousin the Orange-crowned Warbler (OCWA), which has yellow undertail coverts.
This bird was a perfect example of an adult female Black-throated Green Warbler (BTNW).
Here is the male warbler that remains black, blue, and white in every plumage, the Black-throated Blue Warbler.
Isn't he a handsome bird?! This particular bird is a hatching-year with his green-edged primary coverts. Otherwise he looks like an adult male in coloration.
Enjoy the early fall migrating birds. There are still some Baltimore Orioles (BAOR) singing as well as flycatchers and you may catch a glimpse of the last of the golden Prothonotary Warblers before they head south!
Answer to the eye ring bird quiz: From left to right: Magnolia Warbler (MAWA), Nashville Warbler (NAWA), Ovenbird (OVEN), and Connecticut Warbler (CONW).
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Juvenile feathers differ in quality and are often identified as "loosely textured," as in those on the breast of the SOSP above. Juvenile feathers have the barbs on their shaft arranged farther apart creating the loosely textured appearance.
Take a look at this confusing hatching year Chipping Sparrow (CHSP)
HY "Chippers" have a streaked breast, much different than the completely
plain breast of the adult.
yellowish gape as an adult.
two molts before next spring.
characteristic dark triangle of the adult.
the faint eyebrow that MAWR exhibits.
juvenile feathers and fleshy gape.
Some birds, like this Eastern Wood-Pewee (EAWP), are not as obviously different
in their juvenile plumage from the adults.
Body molt in birds occurs in feather tracts that occur longitudinally down their breast and back. It is apparent here on this molting HY Northern Cardinal (NOCA).You can determine the sex of a NOCA once this molt begins. Note also the dark bill coloration which assists in determining it as a HY bird.
This HY Yellow Warbler (YWAR) is molting but still shows the whitish downy feathers down the center of its breast from its juvenile plumage.
Eye color, spotted breasts, loosely textured feathers, over accentuated gape, and lighter or darker bill coloration are good indicators of HY birds.
Here are a few for you to identify!
Well, how did you do? If you answered: Gray Catbird (GRCA), Brown Thrasher (BRTH), and American Robin (AMRO), then you know your youngsters!
There is no quiet time for the bird bander. With summer breeding bird surveys safely in the books, we will be starting fall migration soon. This will be an important fall as we watch for potential population ramifications following last spring's low bird numbers. BSBO will keep you informed of migration from every perspective. Follow us here on the Bander's Blog, on the BSBO research pages, and on Kenn Kaufman's Birding the Crane Creek - Magee Birding, for all the latest information on fall migration.